Frank Miller casts quite a long shadow over Batman. While it’s not fair to claim that he returned the character to his darker origins (with Denny O’Neill making a considerable contribution in the seventies), a lot of modern portrayals of the character owe a considerable amount to Year One and The Dark Knight Returns, among others. Indeed, with the release of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises next year, there will be three animated Batman films released by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. One is an adaptation of Batman: Year One and the other two are a two-part adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. It’s hard to excape Miller’s influence.
However, the other major recent influence on Batman, the guiding hand of the comic book Batman saga, is Scottish writer Grant Morrison. He’s a writer who has worked on quite a few mainstream superhero properties, always offering something of his own sensibilities to how certain characters are represented or portrayed. I genuinely believe that his superb New X-Men run is an attempt to tie-up all the strands that Chris Claremont left on the title, an attempt to provide closure to a set of wheels that had been left spinning since Claremont departed in the earlier nineties.
It’s a hard argument to refute when you consider that Morrison:
- finally revealled everything of Wolverine’s trademarked “mysterious past”;
- offered a conclusive take on the on-again and off-again Jean/Scott romance;
- completed the perpetual circular journey of Magneto from villain to anti-hero to hero back to villain;
- destroyed the Shi’ar Empire;
- justified how the Marvel Universe could be so distrustful of mutants while lauding superheroes created by external rather than internal characters;
- offered the definitive “bad future” timeline, in homage to Claremont’s Days of Future Past;
- ultimately suggested the logical conclusion to the “mutants as next stage of evolution” argument.
I know Morrison’s New X-Men run is controversial, but I suspect that’s because it does feel so brilliantly conclusive of the major threads that Claremont put into play during his iconic seventeen-year run on Uncanny X-Men. You could argue that Morrison was making a conscious effort to erode the writer’s impact, so that future writers might have a chance to take the franchise their own direction, stepping outside the shadow of the man who defined one of the most iconic comic book series ever written.
I think there’s a lot of evidence that supports the assumption that Morrison’s entire Batman saga is built around doing the same thing for Miller’s Batman, setting the stage so that the writers who follow him don’t feel confined by The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. Indeed, while Morrison is very careful not to directly attack the iconic Dark Knight Returns, he has made it very clear that his run is set up in direct opposition to it:
You kind of go in with an idea of Batman, but I think that when I started the book – which, I think, was about a thousand years ago or five years or whatever — the prevailing trend was the Frank Miller-style Batman, The Dark Knight Returns Batman, which was great. I grew up with that stuff and loved it. But I felt like the character right now could handle maybe dealing with some of the more problematic aspects of his past, which were some of the weird villains and strange science fiction. The notion of putting that stuff back but treating it in a very modern, grounded, realistic way – at least within the parameters of Batman’s world – gave us scope for a whole new kind of story. So for me, what I discovered was the depth of the character. I was kind of used to the savage vigilante, but when I really began to think of it, someone who had gone through this life process to be Batman would have much more psychological depth. A man who is that advanced in meditation and martial arts and yoga is not going to be a one-note vigilante crime fighter.
While he might seem to praise Miller’s work in the first line, it’s hard not to read that Batman shouldn’t be “a one-note vigilante crime fighter” as something of a direct accusation against Miller himself. Morrison also argues that any dominant approach to the character, including Miller’s tends to “box” the creation in, restricting and trapping them. He seems a little displeased with the attributes of the character that Miller pushed to the foreground:
Batman’s paranoia and alienation and rage became foreground, but I guess these things have to happen. People take a direction to the limit and the limit reveals the character kind of trapped in a box.
Indeed, most of Morrison’s Batman run has Bruce trapped within various boxes – sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively. The coffin from Batman R.I.P. is a prime example, with Batman literally forcing his way out of a box where he had been trapped, but the Joker himself references that Batman is at his best when he is able to break out of whatever box he’s been trapped in, only to construct a bigger box around that one. He warns Hurt, “every single time I try to think outside his toybox he builds a new box around me.”
In essence, Morrison seems to have been building a bigger box for Batman. And, apropos of nothing, it’s interesting to note how often Miller’s “grid-like” pattern recurs throughout Morrison’s run. I’m not sure if this is conscious direction from the writer, but it’s a nice illustration of how thoroughly Miller’s Batman has influenced later takes.
Of All-Star Batman & Robin
It’s interesting to open the article with a discussion of Morrison’s attitude to the much-maligned All-Star Batman & Robin. It seems that he likes it, in sharp contrast to the majority opinion. In Absolute All-Star Superman, Morrison pauses in his notes to acknowledge “the brilliant, controversial All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder by Frank Miller and Jim Lee.”
However, it seems that Morrison has a fondness for All-Star Batman because of its differences from (rather than its similarities to) Frank Miller’s more iconic takes on Batman:
There have been other attempts to do a ‘brighter’ Batman, of course. Immediately after Frank Miller reinvented the wheel with The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, Mike W. Barr and Alan Davis launched a brilliant run of stories which owed more to Adam West than to Frank Miller. Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s Batman from the Animated Series was portrayed as a tough but psychologically-healthy individual and Miller and Lee’s All Star Batman and Robin has plenty of room for comedy, so these aspects of the character have never truly gone away and form an intrinsic part of the appeal of Batman for many people.
I think it’s fascinating that Morrison seems to enjoy Miller’s All-Star Batman precisely because it lacks the seriousness that we associate with The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. That provides a nice starting point for discussions.
Of Batman and Bad Futures
Once you start reading Morrison’s Batman, it’s interesting how he expands and develops and contrasts the ideas that Miller proposed in The Dark Knight Returns. The most obvious (and immediate) distinction between Morrison’s Batman and Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is that Morrison dares to offer up another alternative future for Gotham City. Since it was published, The Dark Knight Returns always held this lofty place in the Batman canon, as the definitive future of Batman.
Even when things like the addition of Tim Drake as the new Robin made it impossible to fit with continuity, there was still this definite assumption that The Dark Knight Returns was what the last Batman story would look like – even the sequel. The Dark Knight Strikes Again, can’t hold a candle to the original. Talking about his proposed Daredevil: End of Days, writer Brian Michael Bendis even suggested that The Dark Knight Returns and its dark future were so deeply engrained in the Bat-mythos that they were part of continuity. “This is in continuity,” he insisted of his yet-to-see-the-light-of-day miniseries, “not too dissimilar to how ‘Dark Knight Returns’ became continuity through sheer force of will.”
So there’s a lot of weight behind Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns as the definitive “future of the Bat.” And then Morrison gleeful subverts that, by offering his own developing alternate future for Batman, with Bruce’s son taking up the mantle of the Bat. It’s strange, because this dark alternate future hasn’t really been explained – my best reading suggests that “the bargain [he] made at the crossroads on the night the Batman died” refers to the deal offered by Hurt at the climax of Batman & Robin, even if it’s never explicitly stated. Of course, it could be something that’s relevent when Morrison finally ends his run with Batman: Leviathan.
At the moment, it seems that Morrison offers this future simply to demonstrate that there are alternatives to The Dark Knight Returns within the Batman canon, and that writers don’t have to work within the narrow confines that Miller offered them. Indeed, he even seems to rather casually avert Miller’s bleak future in the space of a few panels during Batman #700. The anniversary issues sees Dick and Damian trounce the mutant gang that would form the backbone of Miller’s epic, all in a single page. “The mutants got the message that crime alley’s off limits tonight,” Dick observes. “It can stay that way every night if you work with us.” It becomes clear that Morrison’s take on Batman is one where Miller’s future doesn’t come to pass, as the author suggests both his own alternative while nipping Miller’s in the bud.
Of “what you get when you take Bruce out of the equation”
Another fascinating contrast between the two writers is the way that they deal with Bruce Wayne, or the idea of Bruce Wayne. To Miller, Bruce Wayne is just a mask that the Batman wears, to allow him to be accepted by society. In all Miller’s takes on Batman, Bruce seems of secondary importance to the charcater of Batman. If Miller’s Batman and Bruce Wayne can be said to exist, it’s in a state of something like warfare.
I was only six years old when that happened… when I first saw the cave… huge, empty, silent as a church, waiting, as the Bat was waiting. And now the cobwebs grow and the dust thickens in here as it does in me — and he laughs at me, curses me, calls me a fool. He fills my sleep, he tricks me. Brings me here when the night is long and my will is weak. He struggles relentlessly, hatefully, to be free –
I will not let him. I gave my word.
It’s interesting to read that, as it suggests that Batman “haunts” Bruce, “filling his sleep” and “tricking him.” Morrison would suggest that The Three Ghosts of Batmen “haunted” Bruce in a similar fashion, but we’ll return to that.
Miller’s Batman almost seems like a suppressed alternative personality, rather than an integrated part of Bruce’s persona, one that can dominate its host and take control of the shared body. Indeed, it’s implied that Batman shaved Bruce’s moustache, something that Bruce was completely unaware of until Alfred pointed it out. “Master Bruce. whatever happened to your moustache?”
To Miller, Bruce is nothing without Batman. Years after he retired, we’re reintroduced to a Bruce Wayne who seems to have a deathwish. He’s an old man, but he’s still racing cars and taking part in high-risk activities, perhaps trying to fill the void that the Batman left inside of him, the one he won’t acknowledge. “This would be a good death,” Bruce muses as his speeding car begins to burn up, “but not good enough.” This is substantially more development than Bruce receives in the much later All-Star Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder. Here it seems that Miller’s Batman, increasingly unstable, is in complete control of the character’s psyche.
In contrast, Grant Morrison’s Batman run seems to be entirely about integrating Bruce with Batman. In the very first issue of Morrison’s run, Bruce observes, “Alfred’s telling me I have to relearn how to be Bruce Wayne.” This is a Batman who is on the verge of paranoid collapse. “I thought I saw Killer Croc,” Bruce remarks to Alfred. “It’s… it’s just a green raincoat.” He confesses, “Maybe I do need to let go a little.” To Morrison, it seems like Miller’s Batman is what you get when Bruce doesn’t let go.
Morrison’s run is filled with examples of what happens when you try to remove Bruce Wayne from the equation, and produce your own Batman. There’s the failed experiment in The Three Ghosts of Batman, which produces three psychotic doppelgangers for the Caped Crusader.When Lane holds Bruce captive, he examines his predecessor, acknowledging that there’s something he lacks. “I want to say you don’t look like much,” Lane observes. “But you do, don’t you? You’ve got something.” I think, as far as Morrison is concerned, that “something” is a fully integrated Bruce Wayne persona.
Hurt attempted to replicate Batman, focusing on the formula and ingredients to create a new Caped Crusader. Lane witnesses his “family slaughtered”, based on Hurt’s very superficial insight. “There,” he observes, freezing the image. “In his eyes, that moment when he vows revenge. Ah.” It’s easy to point to Batman as a monster created out of thirst for revenge, but it’s a little bit too simplistic. After all, The Punisher falls into that category as well, so there has to be something more to it.
There’s also Darkseid’s cloned army, which implodes under its own weight, as Bruce turns his memories into weapons.The Lump explains, “They’re stealling your DNA. Your memories. To imprint on unstoppable soldiers. Driven by your trauma.” Bruce responds, “Tell them they can have it. You can have it too. If you can bear it all at once.” This unstoppable army is unable to withstand “the emotional transfer”, something that is so essential to Bruce Wayne that it’s somehow even more basic than his DNA. One scientist ponders, “How does Batman process this degress of stress?” Morrison suggests that he does so by virtue of being Bruce Wayne.
Even Dick Grayson, the most successful doppelganger Batman of run, is merely able to cope by treating it as “a performance” and makes some very stupid decisions his attempt to bring Bruce back from the dead. Indeed, Blackest Knight seems to offer the most brutal parody of the soulless psychotic Batman that Morrison has attempted yet. One gets the sense that Morrison could have easily called it Darkest Knight if he wasn’t tying into Blackest Night (at leats in a thematic way). The horrific zombie Batman, created from a failed Bruce clone, makes boasts like “I no every vulnerable bone”, as well as “every pressure point” and “every tendr nerv.” These recall the rather aggressive nature of Batman as portrayed in The Dark Knight Returns. “I can teech you maximum pane,” the clone warns Damien at one point in a quote that almost could have been directly lifted, given some of Miller’s hardboiled dialogue:
There are seven working defenses from this position. Three of them disarm with minimal contact. Three of them kill. The other… hurts.
– one to the neck — should teach him brand new kinds of pain –
You don’t get it, boy… this isn’t a mudhole… it’s an operating table. And I’m the surgeon.
Indeed, the Batman of Zur-en-Arrh as featured in Morrison’s Batman R.I.P. is explicitly “what you get when you take Bruce out of the equation.” He’s a psychotic raving lunatic with a preference for cold-blooded torture while wielding a baseball bat. This is a version of the character who eschews intelligence and wit, favouring to beat Charlie Caligula with a baseball bat until he gets the result that he needs. He’s honestly not too far removed from the version of Frank Miller’s Batman that we saw in All-Star Batman.
While Dick copes with the pressure of being Batman admirably, there’s no denying that Morrison sees Bruce as an essential part of the Batman equation. It’s Bruce’s arrival at the end of Morrison’s Batman & Robin that saves the day, and pulls both Dick and Damian out of a situation that they aren’t quite capable of dealing with.
Of the Three Ghosts of Batman
It’s interesting to explore “the three ghosts of Batman”, the mysterious antagonists who “haunted” most of Morrison’s earlier run, and it’s interesting to note how easily they could be said to represent a trinity of Miller’s Batman:
There was one night I met three… versions of myself. A killer Batman with a gun, a bestial Batman on strength-enhancing drugs and… the third sold his soul to the devil and destroyed Gotham. I was sure they were hallucinations, cautionary tales, visions of what I might have become in other lives.
In fairness, it’s easy enough to argue that these three ghosts apply to three non-Miller versions of Batman.
The “killer Batman with a gun” could refer to the original Golden Age Batman, who was shown to carry a gun and to be somewhat indifferent to the idea of casualties in his one-man war on crime. The “bestial Batman on strength-enhancing drugs” seems like a shout-out to Denny O’Neil’s Venom storyline in Legends of the Dark Knight, which saw Batman using Bane’s drug of choice to allow him to continue to wage his war on crime. The Batman who “sold his soul to the devil and destroyed Gotham” could be said to refer to the villainous Batman seen in Morrison’s “future Batman” story arc.
However, you could also argue that these three ghosts can be found (to a greater or lesser degree) in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Morrison’s Batman run opens on a confrontation between a fake Batman and the Joker. It’s notable that this version of Batman seems to wear a very blue cape and cowl, which recalls the earlier portrayels of Batman, before the darker modern age. (Indeed, most of Morrison’s Batman run – including Batman & Robin – sees Batman wearing bright blue, calling back to the pre-Miller era.)
Despite the fact that Miller’s Batman insists that guns are “the weapon of the enemy”, the first chapter of The Dark Knight Returns sees Bruce using a sniper rifle. While it’s loaded with a graple hook, one imagines he could have designed one that looks less like the wepons he vowed never to use. It’s remarkably strange to hear Bruce observe, “Good thing I brought the gun.” In the seocnd chapter, Bruce uses a machine gun on a mutant goon, seemingly without hesitation. I think it’s possible to argue that this is the “killer Batman with a gun” – although there are some other possible instances that could count.
It’s perhaps hardes to connect the “bestial Batman on strength-enhancing drugs” to Miller. In fairness, it could be argued that Miller’s Batman essentially “devolves” over the course of Miller’s miniseries from the relatively bright and chirpy Caped Crusader in his blue cape to a muscle-bound hunched over monster who looks like the kind of characters Miller would draw in Sin City. Compare the conventional artistic illustration of Batman in the first issue to his appearance at the climax of the story. There’s no denying that Miller’s Batman was also a more aggressive iteration of the character:
One thing that had to be done right away was that his methods had to become a lot harsher and he had to become a lot smarter. The ‘Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot’ line had to go out the window. He has to be a very, very potent, scary figure in order to even function in that world, let along overpower it.
Some might argue that Miller went too far, and that his version of the character was decidedly unstable – a point that’s hard to dispute when you look at All-Star Batman and Robin. that said, I can’t quite connect the “strength-enhancing drugs”, at least explicitly.
However, Denny O’Neil’ Batman Unauthorised does observe that the figures presented in Miller’s Dark Knight stories are hardly just “buff.” Discussing Todd McFarlane’s best-forgotten “companion piece” to The Dark Knight Returns:
Todd McFarlane, whose masculine figures all appear to be jacked up on super-steroids, helps Miller out-do his hyper-masculine, tough-guy Batman. The Batman of Miller’s All-Star book is years away in time, but very close in spirit.
I think there’s a solid case to be made.
The final part of the trinity is the Batman who “sold his soul to the devil and destroyed Gotham.” I don’t think that’s an unfair characterisation of the climax of The Dark Knight Rises, where Batman entrusts “the Sons of Batman” to keep order in Gotham – these violent sociopaths who used to be gang-members, acting as an “army” of Batmen in Bruce’s name. This is Batman as an invader or a conqueror, a character who doesn’t just skirt the line of morality or legality, but one who forcefully imposes his own.
Indeed, Morrison’s whole Batman Inc. could be read as a commentary on that ending, with Bruce recruiting an army, but properly screening, training and resourcing that army. The Batmen of All Nations illustrated what happened to groups of “Batmen” where Bruce didn’t properly screen applicants, ending up with a psychotic murderer in his midst.
Of Batman and Superman
Frank Miller arguably defined the modern Batman and Superman dynamic. Until the publication of The Dark Knight Returns, the pair were seen as good friends and colleagues, served as “the World’s Finest”, in contrast to Green Lantern and the Flash as “the Brave and the Bold.” It seemed the two were inseparable, having all manner of zany Silver Age adventures together. And then Frank Miller had Bruce kick the living snot out of Clark, treating the pair as if they’d always harboured some serious resentment towards one another.
“You’ve alway known just what to say,” Bruce bitterly monologues as he beats Superman to a pulp. “Yes — you always say yes — to anyone with a badge — or a flag.” It’s interesting to note how Morrison (and several other Superman writers) have been trying so frantically to fight this characterisation of Superman for years. Perhaps Morrison finally succeeded with his pro-active Superman in Action Comics. “It’s way past time you learned — what it means — to be a man.”
This characterisation of the relationship between the two (antagonistic and untrusting) carried through Crisis on Infinite Earths through to John Byrne’s Man of Steel relaunch and into the modern day. While Morrison’s Batman does try to avoid bringing in too many characters from outside Gotham, he does try to subtlely reconnect Clark and Bruce as good friends, trusting of one another.
In The Missing Chapter, Bruce narrates his crisis to Superman, trusting the Man of Steel to help him. He doesn’t try to get a message to Dick or to Alfred, but to Superman. It’s a tacit acknowledgement of how much trust exists between the pair. “You can hear icebergs melting in the Arctic Circle. You can hear radio without a receiver and listen in on the truf wars of dust mites. This is your world. So I’m relying on you to hear this.” This is a long way from the Batman who basically booted Superman out of Gotham in No Man’s Land.
It’s telling that Morrison doesn’t repeat the Superman and Batman fight at the climax of The Return of Bruce Wayne, as Batman fights his way through the Justice League. you’d imagine that it would be tempting. Instead, Superman returns at the last minute and rips the hyper-adaptoid off Bruce, sending it back in time. “Am I glad to see you, Bruce,” Clark greets the returned Batman, like an old friend.
Robin is interesting, because this has been the subject of a back-and-forth between Miller and Morrison, with Miller’s All-Star Batman responding to Morrison’s Batman & Son while Morrison’s Batman & Robin responded to All-Star Batman. All on the subject of the hood, and the origin of the name “Robin”, tracing back to the link between “Robin” and “Robin Hood”, which was always a bit silly to me.
To quote the always insightful Geoff Klock, discussing the links between All-Star Batman and Batman & Son:
Batman tells his young charge to pick a code name and a costume. The kid picks up a bow and arrow, thinks of Robin Hood and goes with “Hood” — as a name and a costume choice. Batman objects to the costume and says “Hood, huh? Do you know what any thug with half a brain would do with that hood?” He violently pulls the hood over Robin’s eyes and walks out saying “Lose the hood. You’re Robin.” He has re-imagined the origin of the name and costume of Robin in a persuasive way — Grayson goes with Robin Hood in this “year two” in the same way the young Batman identified with Zorro in “Year One.”
But he is also taking a shot at Morrison’s recent Son of the Bat plot. Miller emphasizes the father-son dynamic between the two: his Batman says “What am I DOING playing Father…?” Robin’s first choice of costume looks exactly like the Robin tribute costume Batman’s biological son wears in Morrison’s book — and Miller’s Batman chastises him for picking something so stupid. Score one Miller.
And Morrison takes the time to fire back, later on:
But in Batman and Robin Morrison scripted a moment (for Philip Tan to illustrate) that’s a direct response to Miller’s. Dick Grayson, now Batman, tries to pass on some of his mentor’s wisdom to Damian—wisdom we’ve never “officially” seen Bruce give. And this hood-wearing goddamn Robin responds in his own special way.
Ah, two grown men fighting over a superhero costume. Comics, ladies and gentlemen!
All joking aside, it’s interesting how Morrison and Miller seem to… broadly agree on Robin. To both men, Robin saves Batman. In Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, the mutant leader is about to kill Bruce when a young Robin intervenes, stirring Bruce to action. “Lucky… you’re lucky I’m always here… to bail you out,” the delusional Batman observes, as Robin gives him the motivation to fight on, defeating his foe.
Indeed, Bruce’s retirement is prompted by the death of Robin, with Bruce vowing to the ghost of Jason Todd to give us his eternal war on crime. Of course, this was written before A Death in the Family, lending a cruel irony to the scene where the mutant leader attacks Bruce with a giant crowbar. When Bruce returns, he immediately finds a new Robin, and Carrie serves to anchor him, preventing him from going too far.
It seems to be Miller’s way of acknowledging the implicit childishness of the Batman character, something he seems just a little bit ashamed of. He dismisses any attempt to label his “Bat-tank” as the “Batmobile” - “kind of name a kid would come up with.” Miller’s Bruce is embarrassed by all these silly childish elements of his mythos, and seems to want to grow up and be so much more serious.
It’s somewhat telling that the first chapter of Morrison’s Batman is called “Building a Better Batmobile.” Miller’s tank-inspired Batmobile is perhaps the very symbol of “grim ‘n’ gritty” Batman comics, reflected in Christopher Nolan’s realistic design of the Tumbler in Batman Begins. While Miller might eschew the idea of a “batmobile” as childish, the first thing Morrison does is to design one that flies. That’s a perfect illustration of the differences between the two.
In contrast to Miller, Morrison treats the childishness that Robin brings to the table as something that is definitely a good thing. As Bruce reflects on his life, he blames all the bright and colourful antics of his sixties adventures on Robin. “All this is for him. I hate the pranks and the puzzles. I’m tired of playing games with clowns and quizmasters and circus people.” Despite Bruce’s own reluctant attitude, Morrison’s Batman run is built around the idea of integrating all those goofy old adventures into the Batman canon, restoring them to continuity, and acting as if they happened.
Hell, the character of Damian Wayne seems to be a conscious effort to return to that. While a point was made to ensure that Tim Drake was a reasonable age when he became Robin, as if to avoid the embarrassing stigma of a hyper-competent child sidekick, Morrison has Damian out on patrol at the age of ten – the type of young superhero sidekick that you can’t imagine any mainstream publisher attempting in earnest these days.
In contrast, Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder seems to be an attempt to deconstruct this Silver Age idea, demonstrating how incredibly unsuited a man like Batman would be to surrogate fatherhood. To Miller, the idea of a child sidekick is analogous to that of a child soldier, and Bruce subjects Dick to the worst forms of mental abuse, illustrating that there is no way for a Batman and Robin dynamic to be healthy.
It’s also fascinating to consider the central dichotomy. In The Dark Knight Returns, the death of Robin effectively “kills” Batman (at least for a considerable length of time). In Morrison’s Batman epic, the death of Bruce Wayne can’t keep Batman out of action for more than a few nights. “Batman and Robin will never die!”
It’s very hard to read Grant Morrison’s Batman without getting the sense that he’s coordinating an attack on the boundaries of the character that were so clearly defined by Frank Miller. I think it’s an attempt to knock down a wall that has been built up over the years, cementing the idea that Miller’s Batman is definitive. I don’t think Morrison is constructing a counter-model – I think he’s rather trying to integrate all iterations of Batman in an attempt to portray Batman as the true hyper-adaptoid, a character who can be anything at anytime.
To Morrison, it would be a shame to see Batman trapped within the outline defined by Miller.